Friday Fun Review: “Stay With Me Forever” by Farrah Rochon

Stay with Me Forever (Bayou Dreams #6)Stay with Me Forever by Farrah Rochon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stay with Me Forever is the 6th stand-alone in the Bayou Dreams series. The series is connected by where the characters live: in Louisiana. This novel’s setting is fictional small town Gauthier, near New Orleans.

The Premise
Paxton Jones was the nerdy poor girl in high school. Sawyer Robertson was the star hunky football player with wealth and smarts, and way out of Paxton’s league. Until one passion-filled night as 20-somethings before they went their separate ways.
Now reunited for a city improvement project in their small Louisiana hometown, Paxton and Sawyer can’t help feel that attraction for each other. But they also can’t help butting heads on this project. This enemies-to-lovers, second-chance romance is sure to keep you turning pages.

The story/The characters
Paxton is stubborn. And hard. And disbelieving. I didn’t want to like her, but there is so much of her in a lot of people I know. A lot of Black women I know. Including myself. The traits that make us the superwomen and the saviors we are ultimately also make us hard to love, hard to relate to (because how can you relate to divinity?) and hard to convince. I love when Pax and Sawyer get together, maybe even more than I would if I had liked her more separately. She’s not a “root-for” kind of character, but you do want her to have an HEA.

Sawyer is that all-around good guy that can do no wrong. He had it all as a kid, but his parents instilled that hard work ethic in him, so he’s not an entitled alpha. Instead he’s a total beta hero—has his crap together, secure in himself, but totally in love with him some Paxton. Love this guy. Actually, as I write this, he’s the MC to “root for.” I really wanted to see him break down Pax’s walls and show her she can love, and she deserves him—the good guy he is.


The combination of the enemies-to-lovers and the second-chance tropes here is a good one. It gives us a unique take on a story line that otherwise could have read very “we’ve been here before.” The heat level is steamy, open-door, but it’s HQ, so we’re not going into NSFW territory. We just love seeing these people. I especially liked the secondary plot of the construction project, which is creating a flood prevention system in the town. There are city council meetings, and surveys, and descriptions of levees and how water flows in flood plains. If you’re a homeowner or a business owner with a storefront, this is stuff you need to know. Heck, every citizen should know this stuff. If you pay taxes, you vote, you should know your part in how government works on a local level. This is a prime example of why romances should not be looked down on. You can learn a lot from reading these books, even when you just went in for a hunky hero.


Overall
This is an entertaining romance with a twist on tropes that make it even more enjoyable. If you’re a harlequin fan and you haven’t read this one, check it out. Also, where have you been? This book has been out there for some years.


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Mini Review: “The Unsung Hero” by Suzanne Brockmann

The Unsung Hero (Troubleshooters, #1)The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was not a fluffy read. Instead it was angsty, and action-packed, and a little tear-jerking. It just makes you wonder if people really feel so dire about love as romance authors make us think? For once, I felt that that come-hell-or-high-water, I’ll-die-without-you feeling wasn’t a myth. Could loving hard be a real life thing? #MakingMeABeliever


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Friday Fun Review: "A Lesson in Thorns" by Sierra Simone

A Lesson in Thorns (Thornchapel, #1)A Lesson in Thorns by Sierra Simone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What can I say about this book? I think this about sums it up.



I’m usually full of emotive adjectives and helpful info, but right now? Nope. My mouth is just hanging open like a kid who just found out they were going to Disneyworld. What the F did I just read? And why do I want to snatch up the next one like right now?

The story/the characters/the sex:
So I went into this wondering how these six people were going to come together. If all six were going to come together. If I was going to be ready for how they all came together. Little did I know there’s a STORY lurking behind the sexy angst that is pulling you in, luring you, causing you to obsess over what this Thornchapel thing is all about.

And these characters’ personalities do the same. These people have history, they have backstory, and they are tortured. Wow, to be so young and so frustratingly messed up. These kids got issues, y’all! And I was sopping up every minute of it.



In fact, the sex is probably the most normal thing in this book (if you call a six-person orgy normal), but trust me on this. It seems like when these people finally give in to their sexual wants and needs, they are who they want to be and with whom they want to be.

But until they do that, this is a slow burn, if that’s even a thing for Sierra Simone, full of angsty torture. You aren’t really sure how these six people will come together in the end, but one thing is for sure, it will be pretty explosive when it happens. And it pretty much was. Yowser



Overall:
As with most Sierra Simone books I’ve read, I am eager to read the next one. Lady, you really need to have your books everywhere, so when I keep recommending you to friends, I don’t have to feel that separation anxiety when I lend my copy! (I get it back, but still…) xo


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Friday Fun Review: ” More Than Love You” by Shayla Black

More Than Love You (More Than Words, #3)More Than Love You by Shayla Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

More Than Love You is the 3rd in Shayla Black’s More Than Words series, and it is just as intense as the rest. I think it’s even better.

We’re following little sister Harlow Reed, another dysfunctional kid of the villainous Barclay Reed. Harlow’s housesitting a newly purchased mansion until its owner Noah Weston shows up. But when he does, sparks fly. Unfortunately, both of them have issues to work out: Harlow’s wedding that wasn’t has now gone viral, and Noah’s cause for early retirement may derail his second career in sportscasting. Can they help each other through their issues and get together in the process?

I knew I was going to love Harlow’s story when she popped up in Book 2. Harlow is a spitfire, an independent spirit, and comfortable in her own skin. She’s an awesome heroine!



But little did I know that Noah would garner my love as well. He is the perfect guy to corral Harlow (because no one can tame her), and make her realize that she needs love like everyone else. This is definitely NSFW, as this couple can’t keep their hands off each other.

I love that this story shows what traumatic brain injury can do to someone. I am a big pro football fan, so I’m glad there’s another voice speaking up for the players (even if it is in a romance novel!) Though you currently can’t officially diagnose CTE except during an autopsy, the symptoms can be recognized and treated, and with the right therapies, people can live their lives.

I again listened to this audiobook with Christian Fox narrating and am again amazed at his skill. My guess was right; most of the story was told from Noah’s perspective, even though Harlow is the Reed sibling. I think that helped me like him even more.

Evan’s book is still my fave (Book 4 More Than Crave You ), but now I think this one was a very close second. (book 2 dropped to 3rd place.) Either way, this is one steamy read with a lot of drama. Gotta love this series!



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Friday Fun Review: "Get A Life, Chloe Brown" by Talia Hibbert

Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1)Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So I bought this one in January for my Nerdy Romantics Book Club Discussion. I had recommended it, because others in the industry recommended it. But I was hesitant because our first selection did not go over well. After 2 reads, my fears were gone! This is a great book!



Premise: Chloe Brown, a privileged young woman living with fibromyalgia, has a near-death experience that makes her realize she’s got some real living left to do. So, she makes a bucket list, moves out of her parents’ “mans”, and tries to “get a life” by completing the things on that list. Enter Redford, building Super and artistic hunky redhead. He might have lived just enough to help her with her list…

The Characters, the story, the Sex:
The story is a classic enemies-to-lovers with Chloe as the curmudgeonly loner and Red as the understanding, genuine good guy. Watching these two get together is so adorable and so funny! But they aren’t the only truly adorbs characters. Grandma Brown, Chloe’s sisters Dani and Eve, and Aunt Mary are great! Red’s bestie Vikram is so dude-bro hilarious.

The story was well-paced and funny. The second time I read it, I read most of it in one day, just re-living some of the more hilarious scenes–asking the EMT for chocolate, the first “business meeting” between Red and Chloe, The art gallery (one of my favorite lines of the whole book is in this scene). I felt like I was in this world and having a great time with these people! But not only do you get hilariously funny, you get poignant scenes where Chloe’s disability gets the better of her. If you don’t know how fibromyalgia affects people, or don’t know what it is, this story will give you a real life picture. This was so well-written.

The sex is open-door and so cute and steamy and funny. Just authentic-feeling. Like these are how these two people would act together. I love a good authentic sexy scene–where funny people stay in character, but still manage to be romantic..and hot! OMG I love this couple!



Overall:Straight up awesome book. When I feel like I could be in the story, rather than just “watching it on TV,” that’s when a book goes from a 4 to a 5 to me. And that’s what this does here. This is the first in a series, with a book about sister Dani coming next in 2020. I can’t wait! Just in time for a good beach read!



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Friday Fun Review: “The Unhoneymooners” by Christina Lauren

The UnhoneymoonersThe Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Premise Olive, the unlucky-in-life twin, prepares for her sister Ami’s—luckiest girl in the world—wedding, in which the best man is the groom’s brother Ethan. And boy, does he hate Olive! Turns out Olive’s luck begins to change, when everyone gets food poisoning at the wedding except Olive and Ethan. But then Ami pushes Olive to take her non-refundable honeymoon…with Ethan. Yikes.


The story/The characters
I loved Olive and Ethan! This is the enemies-to-lovers fake-marriage tropes done right! There’s just enough weirdness, hate, attraction, and clumsiness, and it happens at the right times to keep the story moving. I was concerned there wouldn’t be enough story to get through all the days of the honeymoon, but I shouldn’t have worried. And the post-honeymoon ending didn’t feel rushed either—great pacing!
CLo is so great with dialogue, and they don’t disappoint here. This is what makes their characters so real and “pinch-able” (so lovely you want to pinch their cheeks).

Olive and Ami are Mexican-American and their family plays an ever-present role in the book. Thank you, Christina Lauren for not hitting us over the head with stereotype. Here, I think the cultural portrayal is well-done. I can almost smell the cooking and feel the familial love while reading it!


Overall
This is a great chick-lit/women’s fiction novel with all the romantic feels we love. It checks all the boxes of an entertaining feel-good novel.


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